Millions of pairs of pantyhose and stockings are worn by women around the world each day, but have you ever wondered where hosiery actually came from and how long women have been wearing it for? We decided to do a little background research on the topic and discovered some pretty interesting facts…
The early days
The earliest references to hosiery date back to the Ancient Greeks where they were worn by male labourers and slaves. Interestingly, hosiery was mainly worn only by men up until the sixteenth century!
The first knitting machine
The first knitting machine was created in 1589 by William Lee, an English clergyman. It is said that he developed the machine because a woman whom he was courting at the time showed more interest in knitting than in him!
The nylon revolution!
In the late 1920s, researchers at Du Pont Corporation began studies to find an alternative to silk stockings and the nylon stocking was born. “Nylons” as they were popularly called, came to replace silk stockings by the early 1940s.
During World War II, nylon and silk became scarce and production of stockings was halted. Many women resorted to staining their legs with tea bags and drawing faux seams down the back of their legs using eyebrow pencil to give the illusion of hosiery. There are even reports that a nylon black market was formed! (Check out FireHosiery’s Vintage Seam tights which are inspired by this era!)
The swinging 60’s
Spandex was first put into hosiery in the early 1960s and this changed hosiery forever. With the ability to be stretched to twice its length, the introduction of spandex meant that pantyhose could now stay up on their own. This coincided with the rise of the mini-skirt during the 1960′s, when many women began to wear full brief pantyhose instead of suspender stockings.
At FireHosiery, we’re very excited about the future of hosiery in Australia, as we make our mark by bringing beautiful and unique hosiery, stockings and tights to your fingertips!